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Ricky’s Pick For The Ladies Wimbledon Final: Serena Williams vs. Simona Halep

Serena Williams of the USA in action against Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic during their semi final match for the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, in London, Britain, 11 July 2019. EPA-EFE/ANDY RAIN EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO COMMERCIAL SALES

By Ricky Dimon

 

It all comes down to Serena Williams and Simona Halep for the Wimbledon women’s singles title on Saturday afternoon. Serena is bidding for her 24th Grand Slam singles title and eighth at the All-England Club; Halep is aiming for her second slam triumph (first at Wimbledon).

 

With a chance to tie Margaret Court at an all-time record 24 major titles, Serena will be especially motivated to get the job done. Whereas many players fold when they put a lot of pressure on themselves, the American consistently rises to the occasion. Just look at her record in slam finals: it is 23-8. She is 7-3 in lifetime in finals at the AELTC, and last year’s runner-up finish to Angelique Kerber can be attributed in part to the fact that Serena was on the comeback trail following the birth of her first child.

 

“To even be in two (Grand Slam) finals last year was unbelievable,” she commented. Now I’m in a different place. Like I just am more calm. Instead of having nothing to lose, I feel like I have things to lose, but I also have nothing to lose. It’s like I’m in the middle. I really want to do it.”

 

Finally back to her true self, the world No. 10 (who would be ranked higher if she played more!) is looking primed to lift her first slam winner’s trophy since the 2017 Australian Open. She has been ruthless so far in London, surrendering just two total sets—one in an extremely high-quality quarterfinal against countrywoman Alison Riske. In Serena’s four straight-set wins, she did not get pushed to a single tiebreaker.

 

Both finalists are coming off impressive semifinal showings; Serena sauntered past Barbora Strycova 6-1, 6-2, while Halep rolled over Elina Svitolina 6-1, 6-3. The 27-year-old Romanian is through to her first final at the AELTC, ending a drought of four majors without getting past the quarterfinals since she won her first and only slam at the 2017 French Open. Halep is 1-3 lifetime in GS finals.

Simona Halep of Romania celebrates winning against Elina Svitolina of Ukraine during their semi final match for the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, in London, Britain, 11 July 2019. EPA-EFE/ANDY RAIN EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO COMMERCIAL SALES

Far worse is the world No. 7’s record in this head-to-head series, which she trails 9-1–including 0-1 at Wimbledon and 0-1 this season. Halep has lost four matches in a row to her nemesis since her lone success in 2014.

 

“I played many matches against her,” Halep reflected. “Many of them were very close. I have learned that I have the chance. Now I will believe that I have my chance to win against her. Of course, I respect a lot what she has done and what she’s doing. But now I feel stronger mentally facing her. We will see what is going to happen. It’s just a big challenge for me.”

 

Perhaps too big….

 

Pick: Williams in 2

 

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

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